Join a new community of readers and bloggers.
The story of a young Texas farm family struggling through the Dust Bowl debuts here, with a new mini-episode added each day. Contribute your interests in literature, history, and human nature. The author, Shelley Shaver, will visit the blog daily and respond.
Click on the titles on the right hand side of the page: they are meant to be read in sequence. Today’s poem will be the poem below the others in the column.

Imagine your world is stolen.
Imagine you stay.

 ____________________________________________

Times are hard.

Money is tight.

Jobs lost.

Homes lost.

Your grandparents survived it all before you.

How?

__________________________________________

Black storms of suffocating dust rolling up from the horizon and turning day to night. A young farm wife, Riah McKenna, trying not to lose her land, her family, and a sharp-tongued red-haired friend the community wants her to abandon.

A crisis of bank failures, foreclosures, lost jobs, and men and women fighting to hold on to their self-respect.

All this hidden under the quiet, close-mouthed culture of the wide-sky small-town Great Plains.

A people learning what they can hold on to when the ground opens up beneath their feet.

That’s the story.

_____________________________________________

Horton Foote, playwright of To Kill A Mockingbird, changed my life. 

Thanks to his belief in my writing, to the magical webmasters Susan and Robert Christensen of the Horton Foote Society, and to the thousands of you who visit and revisit this story, this site has become the home for Rain: A Dust Bowl Story.

 

I worked for 10 years creating this story, based on the strong women and men of our grandparents’ generation. I waited 20 years for this story to find a home.

Yes, it’s long. But it can be read one episode at a time. Read, leave, return.

You know I want you to come back.

Shelley Shaver

 

 

 

___________________________________________  

See Comments At Bottom of This Page

For The Curious:

If you’re curious and your favorite is the outcast Louise, in Section I, try one of the following episodes: 2, 3, 5, 7, 15, 18, 19, 20, 27, 42, 48, 49, 63, 64, 65, 67, 72, 73….

If you’re curious and your favorite is Riah or her husband Tom, in Section I, try one of the following episodes: 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74….

If you’re curious and your favorite is the boy James, in Section I, try one of the following episodes: 6, 8, 9, 14, 30, 31, 32, 34, 39, 40, 47, 48, 50, 53, 57, 62, 69, 71….

If you’re curious and your favorite is James’ deaf friend Barker, try one of the following episodes: 62, 81, 90, 105, 107, 121, 122, 123, 125, 145, 146, 149, 150, 169….

________________________________________________

        

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129 Responses to “”

  1. Gene Says:

    What an exciting website! I’m looking forward to reading the poems and learning what other people think!

  2. loretta davis Says:

    This is a amazing! I can’t wait to read your poetry and I a sending the site to my kids as they all real poetry which is unusual these days! Congratulations!

  3. sshaver Says:

    Loretta, what a kind note! I’m hoping the poems will eventually give rise to some bloggers reflecting on the history of the 30′s (which is looking increasingly similar to our own hard times) as well as the kind of bonds between people that survive those times. The question of what lasts, and why, fascinates me.

    Thanks a million!

  4. Gene Says:

    I am enjoying this site immensely. I really like the way a personal story is interwoven into the historical aspects. I wish I had had this poem and interactive blog as a teaching tool when I taught both American history and American literature to high school students. It makes both subjects come alive.

    Thank you so much for this unique site!

  5. sshaver Says:

    Gene, you’re quite welcome. I was thinking today about the word “endure,” and how it seems to have two primary meanings. One is to last through time, through all the ups and downs; the other is to be able to tolerate pain or adversity.

    To me our grandparents who lived through the 1930′s are fascinating because they endured. To go through hard day after hard day requires a special kind of courage. What they did then, I think, speaks to us today.

  6. sshaver Says:

    Ann Rothschild left some very thoughtful comments after poems 3, 4, and 95. She is beautifully articulate (and so kind about the poems!) that I thought I’d paste one of them here. I think the Welcome Page is a good place for people to post so others can enjoy. Thanks, Ann.

    Ann Rothschild, February 7:

    Ah yes, I like this one because there is a ray of hope in the desolation–a human touch, but no namby pamby–a refreshing astringency, tough and truthful. The poems are so cleverly arranged, with the introduction of the nurse sowing some doubt in the previous poem, and then we can see the scene. Marvellous…but will Riah recover?

  7. Jet Says:

    Hi, Shelley.

    Thanks for checking out my blog (I’m getting back into posting more regularly — this week, I hope!) And thank you for your comments.

    This site is really fabulous. I’ve forwarded it to some friends who are poets and some friends who like reading poetry.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jet

  8. sshaver Says:

    Jet,

    After a long day of grading papers at the college, I was very cheered by your comment–thanks! And the story on your website about the family needing a car to get their disabled kids to the doctor achieves what one of my goals is here with the Dust Bowl poems: to put a human face on economic crisis. If anybody else knows of similar stories, feel free to tell them here.

  9. Shelley Says:

    loretta davis says:

    February 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    She is so smart and has the doctor figured out. Really don’t like the guy but pregnant women have no choice in those parts, did they? (Do they now?) You have this loving, tough, seen it all Mrs. Kemp down. She is one of those backyard pillars in every community and we NEED her. She is not afraid to speak her mind out loud to herself or anyone else. Smart too. The perception of people in these poems, this stories is remarkable.

  10. sshaver Says:

    Loretta,

    I really enjoyed your phrase “has the doctor figured out,” because it made me realize that what these people are doing, having been thrown into an impossible and almost literally un-thinkable crisis, is that they are trying, step by step, day by day, to “figure out” the next move they should make. I think it’s the way we try to make our way through the little picture when the big picture is just too overwhelming.

  11. sshaver Says:

    Kaki says:

    Shelley, this is absolutely amazing writing. I can see and hear these women and town folk. You have done a masterful job of characterizing each one so beautifully with only a few words. I plan on visiting often–I can learn a lot from you. Thanks for sharing.

    Kaki,

    I’m so glad you can hear their voices, because my intention with this epic is to honor these women and men and how they faced up to what fate handed them.

    Coincidentally, at the exact time you were commenting, I was telling someone of the little video piece about your book that people can click to on your website if they go to your original comment after “Canning,” poem 162.

    Thank you! And I want to send out a special welcome to all our new ASLE visitors. You all are most welcome to blog.

    Shelley

  12. sshaver Says:

    Sunny Shaver Says:

    March 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I am delighted to find your poetry on the Horton Foote Society Website.
    I am going to try to catch up on the parts of the story I had missed.
    Keep writing!

  13. sshaver Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I moved your comment from Poem 178 over here so everyone could see it. I’d like us all to blog on this page so we have a common meeting-place.

    Yes, the Horton Foote Society was gracious enough to build this site for me and link to me as their guest artist. Deepest thanks here to Susan and Robert for their beautiful work on this website!

  14. Catherine Says:

    Shelley, the humanness in all your poems is startling. The ache, the sadness and the hope. I am so enjoying reading every word. Thank you so very much for posting these timeless ‘stories’–they should definitely be published in one collection!

  15. sshaver Says:

    Catherine,

    Thank you for every word. I’m glad the hope comes through here as well; despite all the economic hardship, I do think there’s something cheering in people’s ability simply to make it through the day.

    And I see that you are celebrating National Poetry Month at your homebase,poetryisabitofsanity.blogspot.com!

  16. sshaver Says:

    April 6th: Just wanted to mention that Mirella Patzer left a kind message right after episode #49, “Cooking Biscuits,” and if you go there you can click right through to her very interesting website….

  17. sshaver Says:

    Catherine writes after Poem 191, “The Story of the Ants”:

    The way this poem moves and sustains the suspense of Riah’s ant story is exquisite and very seductive. The last comment by Louise gave me goosebumps.

    Catherine
    http://www.poetryisabitofsanity.blogspot.com

    My response to Catherine is: I think “seductive” is the last word I would expect to hear used about these poems! Thanks–Riah does seem to become really wound up in the telling of that old scary story, which I heard as a child….

  18. Frances Madeson Says:

    Bookmarked. Very much looking forward to mining the riches here.

  19. sshaver Says:

    Thanks, Frances. From looking at your website I can see that you must be a marvelous reader and even a performer. I’ve done some readings in California, but not nearly in as many venues as you–your energy must be Dickensian!

  20. sshaver Says:

    Catherine Says of #202:

    April 19, 2010 at 5:02 am

    How devastating…to look forward to making a meal, something Riah does not really enjoy doing, and to find that the dust has invaded even this! ( I especially love the lines: Meals, lean as they were, picked up the day.”) Her strength is so admirable…as she “business-like” begins the task of trying to remove it from the butter.

  21. sshaver Says:

    Catherine, yes, I think we all know what it means when we’re the one who has to go into “business-like” mode because we’re the one ultimately responsible for plowing through whatever painful situation has presented itself. That’s a kind of business where women have plenty of experience!

  22. Grad Says:

    What a lovely place your blog is! I only read the last episode so far, but am going back and starting from the beginning. What a refreshing idea, and so beautifully written. How did I miss it all this time?

  23. sshaver Says:

    Grad, I am so grateful to you for linking this to your blog (which I don’t know how to do!), and I hope everyone here will visit you there.

    Yours is the first comment since I placed the “Enter” sentence at the top of the welcome page, so it’s gratifying that you referred to this as a “place.” I hope it’s a place where people can take a deep breath.

    And I hope you enjoy reading the story from the beginning.

  24. Janet Says:

    This is a truly unique idea — an epic in the making! So glad to have discovered you.

  25. sshaver Says:

    Janet, yes, a grass-roots epic. Like the Odyssey! (Only not in the same league.)

    By the way, my world is brown, but Janet’s world is green, and I hope those reading this will give her site a visit.

    Re today’s episode: I like that Miss Flynn.

  26. sshaver Says:

    (moved here from Episode 208 so others can respond):

    Kaki Warner Says:

    April 26, 2010 at 2:44 am

    This stuff is addictive. I drop by for a short visit and end up reading for half an hour and then some. I’m utterly amazed by your writing. Thank you for sharing it.

    Grad Says:

    April 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Love it! I’ll have to remember to shout “Bee Bee” next time I want to divert attention.

    Gene Says:

    April 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Oh, I know about that addictive quality. I started on this site soon after it went up, and I’ve been a dedicated follower since. I eagerly read the poem of the day every morning before work. I always want to know what happens next!

  27. sshaver Says:

    Who would ever have thought that people would actually enjoy reading an online epic?

    Kaki, Grad, and Gene, with so many episodes to choose from, I’m glad you’re each finding your own way to click and enjoy: I think one of you is reading from the beginning one by one, and the other two are playing the lottery!

    Gene, I’m glad you responded to what Kaki said, because I think it’s fun for commenters to speak to other commenters. Grad, what I like about that bee poem is that I think it’s sometimes people in the worst circumstances who are the ones who help each other out–I’d love to hear some real-life examples of that, if anybody has any.

    Enjoy Grad’s mini-essay on used book sales at her site thecuriousreader.blogspot.com, and at http://www.kakiwarner.com you can see what I still think is one of the prettiest book covers on the market. In this case, perhaps we can even judge the book by it!

    Thanks to everyone today.

  28. bunnystuff Says:

    Wow Shelley, this is wonderful and quite unique! I will need more than a few minutes for this!

  29. sshaver Says:

    Nope, you must be a wild-eyed radical to visit this site, and you can only stay for the time it takes to drink half a cup of coffee, or you will get out of hand!

    Those of you radicals who can sew, knit, or stitch, take a look at the bunnystuff site today.

  30. Mirella Says:

    Thanks so much for the congratulatory message you wrote on my blog. It means a lot coming from such a talented writer like you.

    I’ve just started including my favourite links on my sidebar and am adding yours right away. It’s beautiful.

  31. sshaver Says:

    You’re quite welcome, Mirella. You were among the first to extend help to this new site. I’m delighted to be on your sidebar!

  32. sshaver Says:

    On #72, “The Migraine,” Bina Says:

    May 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Fantastic! I can so relate to that.

  33. sshaver Says:

    Bina, I never thought I’d say this to a reader, but I’m sorry you can relate to that poem! I don’t get migraines, but I know they’re awful, and it certainly doesn’t help to have a mean man there at the same time.

    Those of you in need of a lift, if seeing Groucho Marx would help, check out Bina’s place at fruitflieslikeabanana.wordpress.com. Anybody ever seen Woody Allen’s Manhattan, where he composes a list of the things that make life tolerable? Groucho’s on that list.

  34. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    May 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    “Papers scudded past…” Loved it. You paint with words.

    My Response:

    Well, the palette here is definitely mostly browns: I’m glad you enjoyed it! I almost think it’s true that with the places we love, we love them not only for what’s beautiful about them, but also for what’s not beautiful about them. Anybody care to comment?

    Find Grad at thecuriousreader.blogspot.com!

  35. Mirella Says:

    Judging by all the wonderful comments you are recieving, your blog is a hit. I’m so pleased for you. I’m unfamiliar with WordPress, because I use Blogger, but have you considered adding a subscription feature? You can do that through http://www.feedburner.com. What a treat it would be to receive one of these lovely stories in my email inbox!

  36. sshaver Says:

    Mirella, remember how the Scarecrow was awarded his “Doctor of Thinkology?” Well, I think you should be awarded a “Doctor of Blogology.” And remember the Wizard floating away in the balloon saying, “I dunno how it works”? That’s me with this blog, but I’ll pass your excellent suggestion along to the people who are running it for me. In fact, I need to put up a “thank you” to both those folks.

    Yes, people have been very gracious with their comments. I hope you’ll all feel free to contribute your own experiences here as well.

  37. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    May 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    This is great stuff. I am sooo wanting it to rain for them. I can actually feel how parched and dry it all is. “It takes a lot to die.” Wow.

    My Response:
    Grad, well, it’s a massive case of delayed gratification, isn’t it. We live today in such a “now” society that it steadies me somehow to think of these people and their almost Biblical patience. I hope people will feel free to put up other examples of their own.

    Anybody who’s been up at 2 a.m. might want to check out Grad’s post at http://thecuriousreader.blogspot.com.

  38. Aarti Says:

    Ooh, I can see now what research you’ve done into the working poor of the past! I am leaving work soon, but I shall be back to peruse these episodes at my leisure!

  39. sshaver Says:

    Aarti, thank you for illuminating the book The Working Poor on your blog. One of the things I’d like to do here is draw connections between these working people of the past and people struggling with our own Great Recession. Please feel free to comment on that here. Life is hard for many, many people now.

  40. Julie Larios Says:

    Shelley – I’m coming in late to this praise-fest (via Poetry Friday and Jama Ratigan’s Alphabet Soup) but I am SO impressed – what a wonderful vision, and how glorious to see it made real. I expect to go slowly through the episodes – I like to linger. For me, the face of the Depression is my grandmother’s, my grandfather’s, and even my mother’s – at 83-years-old, she’s still a child of the Depression – it shaped her and made her who she is (self-reliant in some ways, cautious in others.) I feel like I’m setting off on a journey now with your website!

  41. sshaver Says:

    Julie,

    I spent ten years researching and writing Rain, it was rejected everywhere, for obvious reasons (long, not sexy, and requiring a very patient and intelligent reader), and I waited many, many more years for it to find a home. Now thanks to Susan and Robert building me this website, it has one–so yes, to me that is glorious!

    And I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the support I get from these comments. However, I’d love to have people talk more about themselves–tell us a little story about your grandparents in the Depression.

    Speaking of stories, if anyone is looking for a book for kids or grandkids, Julie has written On The Stairs, Have You Ever Done That?, Yellow Elephant, and Imaginary Menagerie.

  42. sshaver Says:

    Gene Says:

    After #229:

    May 17, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Oh, this poem captures that dark part of human nature that some people seem to cultivate. I think probably every office or workplace has a Patty who enjoys spreading gossip while pretending to be outraged. Why is this?

    My Response:

    I’d like to hear what some others think about that interesting question. Gossip itself seems to be a two-sided coin. On one side, I don’t think our interest in other people’s lives is evil–maybe it’s even good, at least understandable. Frost said that gossip was one of the main delights in life! But the dark side is that people can use it to hurt others in order not to feel their own pain.

  43. sshaver Says:

    After #200, Kaki Warner Says:
    May 22, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I never thought of the small animals being gone, too. How do you do that? Throw such a broad net that no detail is lost? You make me feel the grit, the bleakness, the taste and silence of a world encased in dust. What a gift.

    After #234, Kaki Warner Says:
    May 22, 2010 at 4:51

    Wait. You can’t just stop it there. What happens? (See what you’ve done. You’ve got me hooked and I have deadlines. Rats!)

    My Response:

    Kaki: I forbid you to read the next episode until your deadline is met. How’s that? Success must be a stern mistress, but your sunny temperament seems to be its match.

    I’m glad you chose “Small Animals” to comment on because it’s something, in retrospect, I wish I had done more of here. I didn’t really have any feeling for animals until I got my first pound puppy a few years ago. (The current one curls up on the couch next to me as I type each episode in every day.) If I were writing this work now, I hope I would actually put in more non-human characters.

    To all: Kaki has a “Coming June 1st” announcement on her website at:
    http://kakiwarner.com. Did I get that right, Kaki?

    Thanks for your kind words.

  44. sshaver Says:

    Gene Says:

    June 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    OH! These past few days have been torture! The suspense is killing me! Each morning I rush to read the next poem.

    My Response:

    Well, to me these poems resemble real life in that there are a whole lot of quiet days (thank God) that can suddenly be interrupted with something unexpected and, in this case, scary. Then you bring your whole self to respond to that crisis, because there’s no time to think.

  45. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    June 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Once again I’m playing “catch up” with “Rain..” It is consistently good.

    My Response:

    I love it when people comment, go away for a while, then reappear and comment again. Despite the serious fix these Dust Bowl folks are in, it’s my intention that the writing give pleasure, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

    And those of you who might want to know how Grad can post on Shakespeare and Cole Porter in the same breath, check it out at:
    thecuriousreader.blogspot.com.

  46. sshaver Says:

    Kaki Warner Says:
    June 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

    #262 Whoa. That’s intense. Great writing.

    #263 I’m so hooked. Great construction–giving us a glimpse of each person’s struggle. Masterful job of building the tension. And I’m on to the next…

    #267 This is ridiculous. I have a life. Why aren’t I living it rather than getting so enthralled in these characters? You’re that good you make me forget what I need to do. Still reading…

    #269 “Later, drink or pray.” Great line, says it all. You do have the gift.

    #272 WOW! It just gets better and better! Can’t wait for the next installment.

    My Response:

    First of all, I want to be sure you all know that not only does Kaki Warner have a life; she also has a new book published, Open Country, described at http://www.kakiwarner.com

    So Kaki, the energy in your comments means a lot to me, especially coming from a stranger so much higher up on the literary “food chain” than I am.

    I know these poems can be intense for you all to read, and they’re intense for me to type out each day, too. Pause for a minute and reflect on how profoundly stunning it is that people that you and I know manage to survive grinding pressure, including the pressures of illness.

    How human beings do it, I don’t know.

  47. Kaki Warner Says:

    You goofball. Higher up on the literary food chain? Maybe higher up (for now) on the crassly commercial food chain. There’s a big difference. Which is just one of the reasons I read these addictive posts. So I can learn how to pare it down to the sharpest, barest, most clearly defined image or thought. And you’re right. The human struggle is grinding. That we triumph at all is astounding and uplifting. Your characters truly do personify the “greatest generation”.

  48. sshaver Says:

    My mom and dad are in that generation, so I’m happy to take your compliment, thanks.

    As for publication, it has been a chimera for me for so many years that I now consider people like you, who have achieved it, to be magical beings, either radiating a glowing violet aura or sporting the huge insect-like eyes of Martians from outer space….

    By the way, July 11th is apparently the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird, and since it is the website in honor of its screenplay writer, Horton Foote, that created this home for my work, I shall celebrate that day.

  49. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    July 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Reply edit

    “We breathe what we can’t see.” Loved that. A kind of faith – belief in something we can’t see, and yet we know it’s there.

    My Response:

    Ah, Grad (by the way, readers, her very engaging website is the curiousreader.blogspot.com): you are the kind of reader this work
    requires–someone who can see very much in very little. The mustard seed.

    Thank you.

  50. sshaver Says:

    Heidi Mordhorst Says:

    July 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Hi, Shelley–

    I’m so so intrigued–by the the history, the details, the locale, the voices. I’ll be back for more. Thanks for visiting Poetry Friday this week!

    Heidi

    Mary Lee Says:

    July 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    It’s been awhile since I came and browsed. I’ll be home this coming week, spending time with my mom, an Eastern Colorado dust bowl survivor. I’ll show her your site. I’m sure she’ll love reading.

    Mary

    My Response:

    Heidi,
    This work requires readers to hear its voices inside their own head, so I’m glad you’re one who can do that! All of us are descendants from our relatives who survived what Timothy Egan called “the worst hard time.”

    Thank you! And I would encourage everyone to visit Heidi’s myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com for the most cooling and beautiful visual you could hope for on this hot July day.

    Mary,
    You were one of the first to discover and encourage this blog. I would be honored to have your mother read it. Please encourage her to leave a comment here with some of her memories of the Dust Bowl.

    Everyone: read Mary’s thoughtful post on what it feels like to go back to the town where you were once little. Find it at readingyear.blogspot.com.

    And to Mystery Person,
    Whoever you are, thank you for putting this site on “stumbled upon”! You really helped increase the chances for this work to be seen.

  51. Toby Speed Says:

    Shelley, I’ve just stopped by via Heidi at Poetry Friday and read a few of your verse chapters. I love the voice, and will be back to read more. Glad you posted this on Poetry Friday!

  52. sshaver Says:

    Toby, I’m delighted at NY readers, so I’m very glad that you’re here and that you can “hear the voices.” Any other New Yorkers here? Heidi’s blog has quite a reach.

    Readers, I hope you’ll visit Toby’s site. Her children’s book was read on NPR. Quite an honor.

  53. ninjanurse Says:

    thank you for stopping by Kmareka and your thoughtful comment. it gave me something to think about

  54. sshaver Says:

    You’re quite welcome. Lowell Weicker is my favorite Republican, and Howard Dean is my favorite Democrat.

  55. sshaver Says:

    Kaki Warner Says:

    July 28, 2010 at 4:32 am, re 299.

    This was–without a doubt–the most compelling, frightening, wrenching thing I’ve read in a long time. And the ending–perfect. How can you live in your character’s heads the way you do, and still make sense of it for us? WOW.

    My response:

    I had dreaded for months putting up that episode, both because of the horror and because I feared it would create or resurrect pain for people reading it. So I am deeply grateful for your support for this episode, Kaki. I justified it to myself by thinking that people who survive physical violence deserve a depiction that is honest and also honors their strength. Also I have a friend who recently went through the death of a child, and I think it is so hard not to be in an agony of guilt. But the truth is that in some situations fate is cruel, and since we are not gods, we cannot always save ourselves or others.

    But we can at least survive. That’s something.

  56. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    July 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm, re #302:

    This put a lump in my throat. Very well written. You evoke such emotion with such an economy of words, it’s really quite amazing.

    My Response:

    Dear Grad,

    It took my tiny pound puppy a long time to more or less trust me, but now when I sit by him on the couch, he lifts his paw up and puts it on my hand as a signal that he wants to be petted. This is kind of a sappy example, but it’s that same quality in human beings–the ability to basically have the tar beaten out of us by circumstance, but still retain our capacity for tenderness–that I find literally awe-inspiring.

    To Everyone: I’m leaving tomorrow to go back to Texas to visit my folks, but I hope to continue to post. Thanks to everyone for their support during the recent “stormy” twist of the story.

  57. sshaver Says:

    Nicola Says:

    August 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm re poem 72

    Brilliant description of migraine – and I should know!

    My response:

    Nicola, I’m sorry that someone with such a pretty name has to suffer migraines; I appreciate your response because I don’t get them myself, but I wanted to do justice to Louise’s pain. Thanks.

    For a blog that’s very easy on the eyes, take a look at Nicola’s Vintage Reads. She’s a Willa Cather fan, and I just reread The Professor’s House. Interesting how we change in relation to great literature over time. I see the book differently than when I was in college. True for others?

  58. Laura Evans Says:

    Shelly,

    You have written a massive tome! I agree that today’s climate is much like the Depression. People couldn’t afford health insurance and they were out of jobs.

    Laura Evans
    all things poetry

  59. sshaver Says:

    Laura,

    Yes, these are scary days we’re living through. How to hold on to self-respect without a job is one of the battles that runs through these pages.

    Those of you who teach, take a look at Laura’s “house.”

  60. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says:

    August 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    You write beautifully. I haven’t caught all the episodes, but will slowly make my way through the entire story. It’s really worth it.

    My Response:

    Grad,

    Well, it’s the writing that counts. So I really appreciate that, especially coming from you. I learned from my readers here exactly what you say: that it’s possible to pick and choose various episodes one by one, and they don’t have to be read in order.

    I hope folks will visit your The Curious Reader: there’s a lovely picture up that will lower your blood pressure at once if you’ve had a bad day.

  61. sshaver Says:

    Lincoln Says:

    August 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I’m enjoying this story. I love the pacing you have achieved.

    My response:
    Lincoln, thanks for noticing that. I hope that as people dip into these poems to read one or two at a time, the pace will help their day feel less hectic and rushed. Time to feel and think.

  62. sshaver Says:

    Jessica Says re Episode 11:

    August 28, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I love the way this blog is set up. And this poem really evoked some powerful images for me. I’ll be back for more.

    My response:

    Jessica, I appreciate that you chose such a quiet episode to comment on. If you’ve ever stood in front of a very old home or building, you know that the structure itself almost seems to speak. When I go back to Texas, I like to drive through some older neighborhoods where the houses are very small and each seems to have its own personality.

    Jessica’s “home” thebluestockings.com is launching off on a discussion of what to me is the best of all the Dickens novels….

  63. sshaver Says:

    Mary Lee Says, re Episode 320:

    September 4, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I love the secrets they each keep, and the “stitch, stitch, stitch” of cicadas.

    My Response:

    Right to the end, these are people of few words. Sometimes we love somebody by means of what we don’t tell.

    You’ve been with this story from the first, Mary Lee. Thank you. I hope your “A Year of Reading” gets some visits from people here. There’s a pretty mosaic there….

  64. Mirella Says:

    Shelly, thanks so much for the comments on work. I completely understood. Why does work have to be a horrible place? I quit work 3 years ago due to the stress and even last night I had nightmares about it. Thank you very much.

  65. sshaver Says:

    Mirella, your toxic workplace’s loss is the Internet’s gain. I hope people here will visit your lovely visuals and literate posts.

    Work is supposed to shore up people’s sense of security and identity, not tear it down. That’s why the characters in my story love what they do.

  66. sshaver Says:

    Nicola Says re Episode 128:

    September 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I love this. Reminds me a little of Annie Proulx’s account of quilting in her novel That old Ace in the Hole.

    My Response:

    Nicola, welcome back, and thank you. I hope the migraine hasn’t visited. I’m very clumsy myself with my hands, so I admire people who can sew and quilt. I also like Tom’s admiration for what Riah can do.

    I hope readers here will also visit your home blog, vintagereads.blogspot, which currently has Flame Trees, Kenya, England, and Mrs. Miniver.

  67. sshaver Says:

    Diane Mayr Says re Episode 320:

    This one is quiet, but that’s its strength. Love it!

    My Response:

    Thanks–we live in a loud world, don’t we, Diane? The signal-to-noise ratio gets harder to maintain when constant noise makes the signal so hard to catch. These people, though, really listen to one another. They may not say much in response; but they listen.

    To all: Diana’s blog randomnoodling.blogspot.com has what I think is the funniest picture I’ve seen on the Internet.

  68. Holly Says:

    I meant to tell you…I rewatched To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend per your suggestion. Gracias. :)

  69. sshaver Says:

    Holly, if you’ve ever had someone walk into your life and totally change it just by virtue of his belief in your work, then you’ll know why I adore Horton Foote. His support of my writing has been crucial to me.

    He was a quiet, self-effacing man whose genius shines through every second of Mockingbird.

    So glad you watched it, and I hope some of the folks here will go enjoy the autumnal photography at your place.

  70. Colleen Walsh Fong Says:

    Very nice work.

    • sshaver Says:

      Thank you! I hope some folks here will look over at Colleen’s site; she’s starting a discussion on civility.

      I believe one of my heroes, former Czech President Vaclav Havel, once said something to the effect that a civil society is the foundation for all democracy.

      In the past few years I think many of us have been mourning a loss of general civility, and in this election season, Havel’s words come back to haunt.

  71. Toby Speed Says:

    Hi Shelley. I’m so pleased you posted on Poetry Friday today. Your poems are quiet but strong. As I have time, I am making my way through all of them, so I’ll be able to see how they all relate. Enjoy your weekend!

    • sshaver Says:

      Toby, in a world as loud as the one we live in, it’s gratifying to me that my readers tell me they find a moment of peace and quiet here.

      And anybody looking for some colorful children’s books should give Toby a click.

  72. sshaver Says:

    Ninjanurse says re Episode 3:

    Very intense, very immediate.

    My Response:

    I’m very interested in hearing from nurses about a poem where a woman is doing some nursing. Means more coming from you, thanks.

    Ninjanurse’s site kmareka.com is a very winning combination of visual beauty (a lovely, glowing Wheel of Life), politics, and some Halloween fun thrown in.

  73. sshaver Says:

    Nicola Says re Episode 320:

    Beautifully written, as always.

    My Response:

    Thank you, Nicola. The people I write about are not talkative, so the episodes have to be quiet, too. It sort of clears the air (maybe especially after a holiday). Lately I’ve been reading some interviews with Sherman Alexie, and will probably post a quote from him soon.

    Those of you who are looking for something engrossing to read other than Austen but along those lines, visit Nicola’s place, “Vintage Reads.”

  74. sshaver Says:

    ninjanurse says re Episode 8:

    You say so much in such spare language. James is very real.

    My Response:

    You couldn’t have said anything that would please me more. I take as my master here my mentor Horton Foote’s portrayal of Jem and Scout in Mockingbird. Children are at once the most down-to-earth and the most magic-tormented of all humans, I think.

    I also appreciated your response to The Cleaning Lady episode. This woman in another 20 years will be standing up for the civil rights movement. And you also always sound so grounded when you speak.

  75. sshaver Says:

    Grad Says re Episode 320:

    I was thinking about Rain: A Dust Bowl Story on a recent road trip (I think this would a good candidate for audio format). Suddenly, the word “Screenplay” came to mind. Have you ever thought of that?

    My Response:

    Wow.

  76. Julie Says:

    Hi, Shelley. I just read a couple of your poems, and I love them. Powerful work. I love the dust bowl generation (my grandparents were of that era). Their strength is amazing. Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel is one of my favorite poets.

    And, of course, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a masterpiece. I never get tired of reading or watching it.

    Thanks for sharing. It’s very nice to meet you.

  77. sshaver Says:

    Julie, thank you for your website picture of what ruled the country here before it looked like the above; and for letting me know about Trailer Park Quarterly.

    And I hope the above is sufficient to make my readers curious enough for pay you a visit.

  78. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater Says:

    Wow. I chose to read “The Nurse Assists” today. So raw, so real. I felt like I was spying. This is an incredible project, and so perfect the way you have organized your raw words into story which we can enter through so many doors. Thank you for linking in today! A.

  79. sshaver Says:

    Yep, Louise is pretty raw, each time she appears. Amy, thank you for giving me a metaphor: I hadn’t thought of each of the episodes listed as a separate door into the same house. I might use that in a future post, if I may.

    Those of you especially who teach or have young children would enjoy a visit to Amy’s “house.” Just click her name.

  80. Nicola Says:

    Merry Christmas, Shelley. Just re-read Coffee Klatch. Loved it.

  81. sshaver Says:

    Happy New Year, Nicola, and I’m glad you enjoyed Coffee Klatch. I think many of us have known “friends” who, during a conversation, make us feel small.

    For a combination of the highly readable and the well-written, try some of the recommended novels on Nicola’s site, Vintage Reads.

  82. sshaver Says:

    Mirella Says re Episode 320:

    Merry Christmas to you too, Shelley. You are such a beautiful writer and give the gift of joy every time I log on to your blog. May you keep the beauty coming.

    Mirella, Happy New Year. You have supported me from the beginning, and I know in 2011 your site (historyandwomen.com) will continue to be a treasurebox of rich color and thought.

  83. ninjanurse Says:

    thank you, Shelley, for standing up for the ERA.

  84. sshaver Says:

    With the depression the country is in now, women are bearing a heavy burden of keeping their families together, keeping people’s spirits up, and working. I hope it may help a little to see that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did the same thing in the Great Depression.

    I always enjoy visiting Kmareka.com.

  85. Mirella Says:

    I always love stopping by and reading a story. Thanks for your ongoing friendship.

  86. sshaver Says:

    Mirella,

    I’m always happy when people enjoy stopping by for a minute, dipping into the story, moving on, and coming back later. Thank you.

    I’d be willing to bet money that you have a background in art. There is a rich, vibrant color to your site visually that I haven’t found on any other.

  87. Grad Says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Shelley! Came back to read a couple of my favorite chapters. I still think this would make a wonderful movie.

  88. sshaver Says:

    Grad,

    I enjoyed reading the post at your site today, and I’m gratified that you keep coming back here. Like most authors, I have trouble choosing a favorite among my characters: sometimes it’s Louise, sometimes Barker, I’m also very fond of Patty and Tom, and of course there’s always Riah. So I’m glad you have different favorite episodes.

  89. Gene Says:

    Thanks so much for Part of Town. I’ve enjoyed reading and rereading all of the Dustbowl poems. Part of Town really brings home the fact that history does repeat itself. We can only hope to empower the people who now possess the noble and enduring spirit of Riah.

  90. Ed Darrell Says:

    Horton Foote: You know there is a Horton Foote festival in Dallas right now, yes? I caught a production of “Dividing the Estate,” which was a great play brilliantly performed.

    http://www.hortonfootefestival.com/

    Have you been able to take advantage?

  91. sshaver Says:

    Ed: Thanks so much for the update. I commented on it in the “Thought for Now” above. Horton Foote wrote no bad plays, and his work does what literature is meant to do: you walk away from his drama with a renewed sense of both human fragility and human strength.

    For my readers: some of the best websites have some of the oddest names. If you click on Ed Darrell, you’ll see just that.

  92. sshaver Says:

    Gene: What can I say. There is nothing more gratifying to a writer than to have a reader who understands and respects the characters in the story as the writer hoped they would be understood and respected. Thank you.

    I’m taking the poem off the front page today, so will include it here:

    Part Of Town

    Driving through the pre-dawn
    Dark, I pass the prostitutes on
    Stockton Boulevard, at the end
    Of their long day. Red
    Stilettos, wide belts, and dead
    Faces, they look like they could
    Eat lions. Prowling: business
    Slow in these hard times. Not so
    The brake shop down the street—few
    Buy new cars now, most fix
    Old—this shop like
    Others family-owned just
    Sold to chains. Profits set
    High, wages low—yet swarms
    Apply. Joke sign out front: “Grease
    Monkeys In.” Backlit
    By shop bay, a fluorescent
    Silhouette: young man with
    Wrench. Beneath his nails, the black
    Still there tonight, when he’ll sit,
    Daughter in lap, reading
    Cinderella. Chewing gum, she likes
    The mice. He’ll pass on that—he
    Sets the traps—but likes
    The prince who carries her off
    To his castle. Outside, spastic
    Crackle of gunfire: he draws
    The drapes. The neighbor
    Owns a Wii, a widescreen, and makes
    Meth. His children roam the block
    Like dogs. I hit
    My freeway entrance, six lanes
    Chill with fog. Towering
    To my right, giant electric
    Billboard, which the city, short of
    Money, rents for some. The Bank
    Of America has plenty: its ad
    Spurts against the gray a living red,
    Trading with the realty corporation.
    Flash: “Leading Seller of
    Luxury Homes!” Flash: “Leading
    Buyer Of Short Sale
    Homes!” Downroad, the bulk of
    Big-box, exit of its own.
    As I pass, a pack of teens
    Bursts in, mocking the white-haired
    Greeter: “Go home, Gramps!” He
    Keeps his smile. He keeps
    His job. Further on, the huge hospital,
    Top unlit: administrators’ suite. On
    Floors below, the nurses scurry,
    Room to room, each assigned more
    Patients now: the mean nurse
    Snaps at them, the nice nurse
    Bites her tongue. Down in
    The E.R., sirens howl–teen
    Gunshot wound. The blood
    Gels for hours on
    The floor: janitors’
    Union, broken. Can the fired
    Mop up restrooms in fast
    Food? No, that chore saved
    For youngest hired. In the E.R.
    Waiting room, a mother nods
    Off, son dozing across
    Her knees. Chair, stiff cracked
    Plastic. Don’t
    Complain: standing room only
    Down at Unemployment, where
    Later she’ll take the bus, where
    I’ll find my parking slot, where
    She’ll take a number,
    Wait till nightfall with
    The silent mob. Get
    A job, get
    A job, get
    A job.

  93. sshaver Says:

    Robin Dawson Says:

    OMG! I don’t even know how I got to your website, and I am not one for poetry, but I was glued to my computer day & night reading this story. I read it in 4 days. My family got onto me so much, but I didn’t care. These characters, the story, all of it consumed me. I finished last night & was so bummed. I think about Riah & Louise, James and Tom all the time. I even had to go & research The Dust Bowl to see what that was all about & look at pictures. Do you have any other writings, stories, or poems? I Loooooved this one so much. Is it in book form? Kudo’s to you!! I just can’t say enough how this story has touched me. Thank you Thank you!!!!!

    My response:

    Robin, I responded more fully after Episode One where you left this, but I can’t resist saying that I love–I mean love!–your enthusiasm. And you’re right: this is not poetry the way most people are writing it. It’s a story, and I’m as intrigued by how these people responded to disaster as you are.

    They thank you, and I thank you.

  94. Gene Stewart Says:

    With the current heat wave and drought here in Texas, I think more and more about the story in “Rain.” When I look at the cloudless sky day after day and feel the searing heat, I think about the characters in the poem and how they handled nature’s relentless hardships. I’m struck again at the timelessness of this wonderful story.Thank you so much for “Rain.”

  95. ninjanurse Says:

    I wrote to Sekanblogger at Kansas Mediocrity and told him he would like your site. It’s been such a tough summer, with nature in her angry aspect.
    Thank you for your beautiful poem, for bearing witness.

  96. Shelley Says:

    Gene:

    Thank you. My old friend Richard Sewall, Emily Dickinson’s biographer, used to say: “The purpose of the humanities is supposed to be to make people more humane.” You go right to my heart when you say that immersing yourself in these poems increases your respect for the people you see fighting similar battles all around you.

    My readers are the best people in the world!

  97. Shelley Says:

    Ninjanurse:

    This literary work depends entirely on the word-of-mouth of its readers, so thank you! And may I mention that your website is a beacon of moral clarity on the web.

    I love your term “bearing witness.” That is perfect, and sometimes when things get hard, it is the best and only loyalty we can show to the people in our lives….

  98. Nicola Says:

    Hi Shelley, reading Eudora Welty lately has reminded me to come back to read some more Rain. Money Matters was my choice today.

  99. sshaver Says:

    Nicola, I was wondering who would be the 100th commenter here, and I’m glad it was you! It’s funny, but when I originally wrote “Money Matters,” I never thought it would be read in a time when so many moms and dads are having to pinch pennies once again. There was an article in the newspaper today about a volunteer van that delivers free food to rural people who are hungry. There was a picture of a white-haired man reaching for a bag of groceries. That haunts me….

  100. TeeJaw Says:

    You have a large project here and you’ve done it proud. The timbers of humanity were strong during the dust bowl.

    • Shelley Says:

      TeeJaw, thank you for your comment, and I agree with you. Just by looking at the photographs of the faces of those Americans who lived through the “dirty thirties,” we can see that these were no-nonsense people whose survival was threatened. They were determined to hold onto life and hold onto remaining human.

  101. Andrew Godfrey Says:

    I have never seen poetry interwoven with history so well before reading the excellent poetic history of the Dust Bowl. This is writing at its best. Our imagination comes alive as we read the poetry, that explains so well what the Dust Bowl victims went through so many years ago.

  102. Shelley Says:

    Andrew, readers like you are the reason writers write.

    Thank you, and best of luck with your website.

  103. Shelley Says:

    Loretta says re Episode 23:

    April 2, 2012, at 10 p.m.

    Such a real life encounter in a small talk. Captures that feeling that of course ” we are better than she is”. Riah isn’t even thinking about that and probably would not feel the same way as Patty.

    It’s always interesting how in communities, one sometimes has that bookmark that marks time. You were not smart in school and you still don’t know what’s going on. One does not have to live up to that reputation, we do change, evolve.

    I love the personal relationship here of friends, friends for many years. That gossip always creeps in at teas, doesn’t it. Here there are just two having tea, but having tea means time to chat.

    I felt like I was right there. Thank you!

    My Response:

    Loretta, I think you put your finger on something very interesting. We all, as you say, carry around with us an image of who we are (or who we’re afraid we are) from childhood. It weighs on us as heavily as Huck Finn’s idea of how he “should” betray Jim weighs on him.Through her relationship with Louise, Riah is given a chance to change.

  104. sshaver Says:

    SeanClifford says re Episode 5:

    April 10, 2012, at 6:17 p.m.

    This is a really lovely poem. I was directed here by Loretta Davis and am glad she sent me this way! The poems (in terms of subject matter and lyricism — but not in terms of form) remind me of Carl Sandburg.

    This is a great site, and well-organized. I will continue to pore over the content!

    Best
    Sean Clifford

    My Response:

    Sean is an expert in a field I know precisely nothing about: contemporary music in L.A. So please check out his site at Bluesreview.wordpress.com. Apparently some musicians are giving vinyl another try….

    And thanks, Sean, for your enthusiasm. I’m always glad to see musicians and poets make common cause.

  105. sshaver Says:

    Graddikins says re Episode 320:

    April 19, 2012

    Hope you are writing that screenplay. Do you have another blog? You’re a super writer.

    My Response:

    Grad, I think because of the huge empty sky and the flat land, I do see this story in a kind of “wide screen” way. I think the lay of the land we were raised in never completely leaves us. It’s always lurking in our minds somewhere.

    Thank you, as ever.

  106. sshaver Says:

    Ninjanurse says re Episode 3

    April 24, 11.31 p.m.

    re-reading your nurse. she’s braver than most, a lot of us don’t deal with birth and death.

    My Response:

    God knows Louise is braver than I ever was, both in her ruthless facing-down of sickness and her ability to tolerate being an outcast. I was an outcast too, but much quieter and not nearly so bold!

    In contrast to the devastated land here, if my readers visit ninjanurses’s kmareka.com, they’ll see some lovely pictures of planting and green.

  107. sshaver Says:

    Glenda Bailey-Mershon says re Episode 1:

    May 15, 2012, at 4.28 p.m.

    Really wonderful quality of reluctance and understatement to this poetry. It seems to capture the texture of that time.

    My Response:

    Glenda, I really appreciate your word “reluctance,” which is a quality about the people in this story that I think is sometimes misunderstood. Their feelings are powerful; but they live in a culture that forbids them from speaking.

    I hope folks here will look into your “womenandbooks” site on wordpress.

  108. sshaver Says:

    ninjanurse says after Episode 5:

    May 27, 2012, at 7:42 p.m.

    I like to stop in and spend time with your nurse-midwife.

    ninjanurse says after Episode 152:

    Belief, or just hope? Beautiful.

    My Response:

    I think you have a special insight into this character. I have a feeling that Louise would like you better than she would me, because life has forced her to value toughness and a kind of wild no-nonsense humor. Because she’s shut out of the community, she’s always looking from the outside in.

    Sometimes when you’re on the outside, you see more. But it’s a painful place to be, especially for a woman alone.

  109. Grad Says:

    I’ve started my first re-read. I’ve been through the first 6 again. I’m going to try to get to six every day. I’m catching more this time around. One thing…Riah. Is it pronounced Ree-ya (as in Maria) or Rye-ya (as one would normally pronounce Mariah). It know its a small, and probably silly thing to ask, but I’d like to get the sound correct as you have chosen your words so carefully.

  110. sshaver Says:

    Grad, I’m delighted that you’re rereading, because in these episodes, as in life, so much happens “between the lines” and in the silences. So there’s lots of room for the reader’s mind to move into the episode and look around in all directions.

    And that’s not a stupid question at all! It’s the second pronunciation with the long i. Her name just came to me many years ago, and I have no idea why. I know when I was growing up there was a song from a musical with the line “They call the wind Mariah,” and I don’t know if that had an effect on me. It was just always her name.

  111. sshaver Says:

    Thomas Martin says after Episode 320:

    June 14, 2012, at 8:17 a.m.

    Isn’t this The Grapes of Wrath retold?

    My Response:

    That’s an interesting question. Of course I am in awe of Steinbeck’s achievement. In a sense he and I are writing about the same people–those who are struggling to survive. I think the difference is that, as I say above, he writes about the people who leave, and I write about the people who stay. And I think a slightly different set of burdens arises, a different demand on our spirits is made, when we decide: I will make this work. I will not be forced out.

  112. Nicola Says:

    ‘I will make this work. I will not be forced out.’ Beautifully said, Shelley!

  113. sshaver Says:

    Thanks, Nicola. Trollope would use a phrase sometimes in which he would say of a character: “She looked with all her eyes” or “She listened with all her ears.” You always do both.

    “The work of poetry, poet’s work, takes its place in the reader.” I just found that in a book of essays by Heather McHugh. She also says, “Every object has a field of force.”

    Each person in the Dust Bowl story, I believe, has a field of force, surrounding them as an individual, and touching/clashing with other people’s.

    • Kris Says:

      The home page is so inviting, immediately creating intrigue. It seems like reading Horton Foote’s work first and then reading the poems following might be worth some of my precious time.

      Kris

  114. sshaver Says:

    Kris, I love To Kill A Mockingbird, and Horton Foote’s support of my writing has been something of a miracle to me. I would also recommend his film Tender Mercies to anyone who hasn’t seen it, and his plays have all been collected and can be read. I liked your word “intrigue” because I do think that despite their quiet language, the people in Rain are under tremendous pressure and in painful uncertainty.

  115. sshaver Says:

    dzonokwa says after Episode 10:

    November 13, 7:07 p.m.

    This is off your particular topic but I wanted to connect in the hopes that you are following up on the Sac Bee’s story on The Dust Bowl and all the talk about Ken Burns’ new film “The Dust Bowl” PBS documentary, airing Sun and Monday at 8 pm on Channel 6. There must be some way to lead readers to your wonderful collection of poems. Does Ken Burns know about you? He needs to.Letter to Sac Bee? I will write one now.
    Ann Rothschild.

    My Response:

    Thank you! Ken Burns has said of the Dust Bowl: “It blew Oklahoma all the way to the Atlantic.” It’s rare to have someone who is both as brilliant and as humane as Ken Burns. I hope all my readers will watch his Dust Bowl special on PBS November 18th and 19th. Burns says of this film, “We are in the service of good story.”

    With Rain: A Dust Bowl Story, so am I.

  116. sshaver Says:

    Waffle-Wednesday Says: after Episode 320:

    December 1, 2012, 6:55 am

    what a gem of a blog!

    My Response,

    Thank you, Liesel. Readers can click through to your website at Episode 320. Liesel is struggling with the same question we all are this Christmas: how to reduce gun violence in this country. For myself, I’m staying away this season from any movie that has a gun (or even a spear!)…

  117. sshaver Says:

    philipparees says after Episode 9:

    November 25, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Another reason to comment…so clever, poetry about politics! Not often attempted since Shelley.

    My Response:

    Thank you! Readers can find philipparees’ site to click through after Episode 1. Steinbeck is the master, and philipparees tells us that she lives within eyesight of a cottage in England where he once wrote. Fred Allen quotes Steinbeck as having told him: “The form will develop in the telling….Don’t make the telling follow a form.”

  118. sshaver Says:

    Sandy, thank you for our first post of 2013. Maybe your words of wisdom can serve as a mantra for that year for many of us. I’m not sure my characters dance, but simply to be able to stand there and “take it” is something life demands of them. You’re certainly right that it’s useless to wish the storms away.

  119. Rob Schackne Says:

    Dear Shelley,
    What an undertaking! You’re a champ. Thank you. I look forward to reading much more.
    Rob Schackne

  120. sshaver Says:

    Rob, please forgive me for not getting back to you much earlier. I like the name of your website: “The Tao That Can Be Named.” I’m going through a sad situation right now, and it seems that sometimes the only power we have in life is to try to name what is happening to us.

    Thank you for your kindness.

    • Rob Says:

      Dear Shelley,
      I’m sorry that you’re going through a difficult time. I will keep a good thought for you. The spirit of Christmas brings hope.
      Rob

  121. sshaver Says:

    Nora Gilstrap says after Episode 23:

    November 24, 8.25 a.m.

    Liked it. I could feel Riah’s memories. Well done.

  122. sshaver Says:

    Nora, Riah always steadies my mind, so I’m glad you felt connected to her. Also thanks so much for commenting here. 2013 is turning out to be a very somber year for me. Your comment was a little light in a dark time.

  123. sshaver Says:

    philapparees says after Episode 258:

    November 24, 2013, 8.31 a.m.:

    I visited here a lifetime ago, and loved it a first glance. Still do wherever and whenever I call.

  124. sshaver Says:

    With the worldwide “goodbye” to Mandela, I was gratified to see a post from someone born in South Africa at involution-odyssey.com. Repeat visitors to my story here are so important to the site. Thank you. And thank you for what your country became.

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